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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Fecteau

What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Updated: Mar 14, 2019

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ is a grappling oriented martial art and combat sport evolving from ancient Japanese origin. Also written as: jujitsu or jujutsu.

In Japanese “ju” means gentleness and “jutsu” means art technique. The literal translation is “gentle art.”

The martial art essentially is based around an individual using levers, torsions and pressure in order to take one’s opponent to the ground and dominate them. The overall design was to equip a physically smaller or weaker individual with the most effective method in self-defense against a much larger attacker.

Jiu-Jitsu Origin

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The secular origin as with most ancient martial arts is difficult to precisely pinpoint. What is known and traceable were the environments of development and refinement in the schools of the samurai.

Its creation derives from battlefield confrontation in where a samurai may be left weaponless at which point he would need another mode of defense against an attacker. The takedowns and torsions began gaining ground due to their efficiency. Jiu-Jitsu was born.

Jiu-Jitsu Migrates to Brazil

Jiu-Jitsu found its way to Brazil in 1914 by Japanese born Mitsuyo Maeda also known as “Count Koma”. Maeda found himself teaching his mastered art of Jiu-Jitsu to a man by the name of Carlos Gracie.

Gracie went on to open his own academy in 1925 and taught his brothers all that he had learned. The strategies and techniques continued to develop and mature as time went on. The Gracie family began paving the way in the sport.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in North America

Ultimate Fighting Championship Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Rorion Gracie, one of the Gracie brothers moved to Los Angeles in the 1990’s. He helped create an event called The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 1993. UFC was a fighting competition deemed as the “no-rules” mixed martial arts contest. Today, UFC is the largest MMA (mixed martial arts) promotion company in the world.

Royce Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Dominating match after match, from day one, Royce Gracie turned heads. His skilled martial art technique passed down from the teachings of his brothers proved successful in exposing numerous fighters’ severe weaknesses in ground fighting. Royce’s style perked the interest of coaches and fighters alike to dive deeper into the mixed martial art, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).

Those practicing BJJ know how physically and mentally demanding it can be. Students studying this martial art benefit from increased physical fitness, problem-solving ability, self-knowledge of their own personal mind and body as well as working alongside like-minded fellow students and instructors.

Known as the fastest growing mixed martial art in the world, BJJ has thousands of academies across the globe. This constantly evolving sport has incorporated new techniques and strategies only increasing its effectiveness and popularity.

There is no slowing down in this ground game. BJJ has come a long way and only continues to gain speed.

Source: Gracie Mag

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